The Chinese arm of US-based Mars Inc is expected to finish construction of Asia’s largest pet food plant in Tianjin, China by 2022.
According to the company spokesperson, Niu Yinghua from Mars Pets Nutrition China, the new US$100 million plant will have the capacity to produce 25 tonnes of pet foods annually. Strong demand for pet foods in China has led to the US-based producer to increase its NPD in the market from 12 months to 4 months. As such, the plant construction is timely to meet this rapidly growing demand.
Niu said, “Mars is optimistic of the ‘cat economy’. We must firmly seize the opportunity of hot sales points of cats and the cat economy. The category of cats is extremely important to us.”
The number of cats as pets had jumped by 10.2% to 48.6 million in Chinese cities from 2019 to 2020, according to a report by iiMedia Research. Meanwhile, the number of dogs fell by 5.1% to 52.2 million. The market for cat care products surged 13.3% to Rmb 88.4 billion (US$13.8 billion) in 2020 while that of dog care items dropped 5.1% to Rmb 118 billion (US$18.5 billion).
Niu added that dogs are “falling out of favor” because the new generation of pet owners are dealing with pressures at work and do not have the time to walk a dog, adding that cats can interact with the owner but yet they are more independent than dogs.
Mars supplies popular pet care brands like Pedigree, Sheba and Royal Canin.